In some ways, there’s nothing new under the sun. In other ways, everything is changing. A constant state of flux permeates the modern business world, and a need for the latest intelligence influences decision-making at all levels.
Competition for market share and drastic efforts to improve brand reputation are nothing new. However, these two objectives are harder to achieve while businesses are also balancing digitization initiatives. In some ways digital transformation is an essential prerequisite for accomplishing these goals.
For even the most adaptable and time-tested companies, the complexity is staggering. Smaller businesses are under immense pressure as they seek to effectively leverage technology to better serve their customers.
In this quickly shifting landscape, customer expectations are at an all-time high. Yet friction can emerge as businesses strive to capture new revenue streams and drive digital improvements. Tickets are dropped and orders are delayed.
Successful full-scale digital transformation is essential not just for larger enterprises. It’s an essential part of doing business for entities of all sizes, including smaller ones.
Read on for advice if you’re a small business leader who’s preparing for digital transformation at your company or if you’re trying to figure out how to support customer experience during this transition.
What Is a Good Digital Transformation Strategy?
A good digital transformation strategy is one that’s tailored to your company’s specific overarching objectives while being measurable and actionable.
If you’re going to move forward, you have to know which direction that is, right?
As you create your strategy, you should be thoughtful and intentional while leaving room for revision as the results come in.
First, you need to carefully consider the business models in your industry and adopt specific digital transformation objectives based on:
- What you struggle with compared to your competitors.
- Existing and emerging technologies relevant to your business processes.
- How to best capitalize on your core competencies.
From these criteria, you can establish a list of goals for your digital transformation journey. According to the 2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation report from Altimeter, the top three digital transformation objectives over the long and short term were:
- Integrating platforms to produce a smooth omnichannel experience for customers.
- Updating internal technology to better meet today’s needs.
- Improving ecommerce and mobile commerce systems for consumers.
These three items can be a good starting point, but think broadly, and carefully, about your company’s needs. You may also want to consider how behind-the-scenes tech enhancements can improve the sales process or supply chain management and integration.
Once you’ve established your objectives, you’re ready to create a road map. Don’t be afraid of innovation during this phase. If you see an opportunity that your competitors haven’t taken, now’s your chance to seize the moment.
Your plan should involve the creation of cross-functional teams to get input and buy-in from multiple stakeholders across the business. These departmental representatives will also be able to oversee changes within their areas of expertise.
What Are Digital Transformation Services?
Digital transformation services range from software and applications to hardware and installation packages, and they can also include consulting. Consultants can help you find out which tech solutions best suit your needs as well as troubleshoot integration issues and provide training to upskill your existing staff.
Digital transformation services will also vary greatly from one industry to the next. Retail, food and beverage businesses might be interested in finding a new point-of-sale system and getting it installed. In the B2B world, moving to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and integrated marketing system might be on your radar.
It all depends on what your objectives are and whether you can harness the latest technology to help you achieve them.
The important thing to remember is that a full-scale digital transformation involves more than just the front end of new technology.
Consider the concept of digital business, which Gartner defines as, “the creation of new business designs by blurring the physical and digital worlds.”
Focus on the human element for now, because this is where a lot of friction comes into play, and where holistic digital transformation services can help you close the gap.
Your customers need to be brought on board, and they need to experience something positive in return for adapting to your new business operation. Your internal staff may also need coaching and encouragement to adopt new strategies and technology.
How Can Software Vendors Enable Your Own Digital Transformation?
Your software company or vendor can help you install new technologies, integrate disparate systems and install user-facing and behind-the-scenes solutions that help you meet your digital transformation objectives.
Options range from providing convenient interfaces like small business marketing platforms to enabling artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help you better anticipate customer needs and fluctuations in order volume.
Remember that software vendors can help with your digital transformation by improving the customer experience. For example, they can install an application for retail customers to give them suggestions for other items they’d like. At the same time, they can help out behind the scenes. For instance, they can suggest integrations that streamline communications between different links in the supply chain.
How Can You Measure ROI on Digital Transformation?
To measure your ROI on digital transformation, segment your tech investments according to each objective in your strategy. Then, determine how much your outcomes changed relative to the average performance you’d expect using the legacy system.
This might not always translate directly into dollars and cents.
For instance, perhaps one of your objectives was to shorten your time to market for a new product. If you improved over your average for similar products, you’ll have to use data analytics to predict what the discrepancy in revenue between those two timelines would have been.
You should also factor brand reputation, customer experience and market share into your ROI calculations. After all, digital transformation isn’t all about efficiency and future cost savings. It’s also about investing in your company’s future and improving customer satisfaction.
For small business leaders who are experiencing customer friction due to digital transformation initiatives, the Company.com digital experience solution may be able to help you resolve issues so you can enhance the ROI on your investment.